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I'm looking at a vintage Link and the seller says they don't know if it's original or not. Are there any "tells" that can help me determine this visually? I will have the chance to see it in person.
 

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Baffle shape, table and rails are normally the spots were refacers work on. You can often see differences in the plating and/or light reflections in those area's if it has been worked on.
 

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Most of the time on metal mouthpieces the refacing will take much of the finish off the table, rails and sometimes the tip baffle area. On a non-metal mouthpiece it can be very difficult to tell. I guess if the seller did not know for sure it was an original untouched mouthpiece he should be asking a used, refaced price, because it is a total gamble on your part. If you cannot try it before paying, at least try to get a 3-day trial with total refund if you send it back in the same condition you got it.
 

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I'm looking at a vintage Link and the seller says they don't know if it's original or not. Are there any "tells" that can help me determine this visually? I will have the chance to see it in person.
If it doesn’t play well, there’s a better chance that it is original.

Seriously. Think about it.
 

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If it has been refaced long time ago and played it will be difficult to see any traces of the work which couldn’t come from the original manufacture or playing.

Anyway you could try to measure it against similar contemporary piece(s) and see if there are any differences in dimensions.
 

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If it doesn’t play well, there’s a better chance that it is original.

Seriously. Think about it.
I’ve always found the opposite to be true. Re-facers can’t seem to leave the nice Link baffles alone or get the tip shape right.
The surest sign is the plating missing on the baffle and rails. The “denim’ pattern on Floridas and especially EBs went along the rails right up to the tip.
If you’ve ever had a good original Link you’d know what I mean.
As always, if you could post a photo it may be easier to answer your question.
 

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I’ve always found the opposite to be true. Re-facers can’t seem to leave the nice Link baffles alone or get the tip shape right.
The surest sign is the plating missing on the baffle and rails. The “denim’ pattern on Floridas and especially EBs went along the rails right up to the tip.
If you’ve ever had a good original Link you’d know what I mean.
As always, if you could post a photo it may be easier to answer your question.
Just curious, what is the correct tip shape that you are referring to? I've found that most vintage pieces the tip shape inside and out do not match the profile or contour of reeds that have been made in the last 20 years. Factory baffles were left fairly nebulous and not very defined for the most part. Best ones I've seen have been from the USA period and some from the early FL 'double band' pieces that have a nice flat contour and transition nicely into the roof of the chamber.
 

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I’m talking about a good original vintage Link. The flat baffle that you’re talking about that seems impossible to make anymore. I have a perfect Early Babbitt and haven’t found another like it. The point where the rails meet the tip rail never seems right in re-faced mouthpieces I’ve had.. Most of the tips look blunt now.
I’ll send you a FB message because it’s hard to post photos here
 

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Most of the time on metal mouthpieces the refacing will take much of the finish off the table, rails and sometimes the tip baffle area. On a non-metal mouthpiece it can be very difficult to tell. I guess if the seller did not know for sure it was an original untouched mouthpiece he should be asking a used, refaced price, because it is a total gamble on your part. If you cannot try it before paying, at least try to get a 3-day trial with total refund if you send it back in the same condition you got it.
IT seems to me a "Refaced" price could even be more than the original price. Especially if it was done well by a reputable refacer...
 

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I’m talking about a good original vintage Link. The flat baffle that you’re talking about that seems impossible to make anymore. I have a perfect Early Babbitt and haven’t found another like it...
Exactly. You haven’t found another like your favorite because they ARE few and far between. I spent a day going through a case of Links at Ponti’s, and can tell you that most that I played were not all that good. Today, all of them - good or bad - are Vintage.

If a poor playing one from the factory is now good, it’s because it was refaced. If it is still in original condition, it may have never played well - and still won’t, even though the current market value is high.
 

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Ponti’s

Oh man, I'd sure like to walk that street again and visit Ponti's and the other great shops that were there. You never knew who might be in there trying a horn or just gassing!
 

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Easy tell for recently refaced mouthpieces is the table--refaced mouthpieces don't have the mill marks, but sanding marks. If there are no milling marks then it's hard to say. Also an obvious one is if the tip opening is way off from the original. Also certain refacers have a "tell"--Brian Powell mouthpieces for example he usually sands and smoothens the underside of the siderail where it meets the scooped sidewall.
 
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